Some are helping in the fight against terrorism by sniffing out explosive materials at airports and other busy public areas. Others are helping the police wage the war against drugs; in fact, hundreds of thousands of pounds of illegal substances have been taken off our streets thanks to their keen noses.
However, detection dogs work in many more areas than national security and law enforcement. Thanks to their incredible sense of smell, dogs can be trained to sniff out a huge range of different scents, making them great helpers in a variety of fields (such as sniffing out cancer). Here are a few of the more unusual jobs detection dogs have accomplished.
We know what you’re thinking: “Really?” But, yes, it’s true. The Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington has been using a Black Lab mix named Tucker to help them track down orca (more commonly known as killer whale) feces. Running tests on orca feces is incredibly useful in helping scientists conserve this endangered species. But, as you can imagine, finding it is no easy task when you have a whole ocean to search!
That’s where Tucker comes into play. When he gets a whiff of orca poop, he sets off the alarm, barking and running around in circles, prompting the scientists to scour the nearby water.
If you plan on going whale-watching with your dog, make sure your dog is snug and warm in a waterproof dog coat.
Recent years have seen a huge surge in the number of superbugs infecting our hospitals. Thankfully, Cliff the Beagle is on hand! After only two months of training in Amsterdam, Cliff is able to sniff out the deadly Clostridium difficle bug (more commonly known as C. difficile) with incredible accuracy. When he detects the bug, he simply sits quietly at the foot of the patient’s bed, allowing doctors to take the necessary action.
Sniffing is in Cliff’s blood, as his father is a police sniffer dog. Quite incredibly, without any specific training, his dad has now learned how to sniff it out, too! Who says that kids can’t teach their parents a few new tricks?
Mussels may not sound particularly dangerous, but in California, the quagga mussel poses a serious threat to local wildlife. This invasive species can ruin the natural habitat, destroying the food source of other less aggressive species.
The solution? Sniffer dogs!
Local conservation agencies have trained dogs to sniff out the quagga, and have positioned them at public docks to ensure that none of these pesky critters are brought in on boats.
The plight of the bee has received international attention. For reasons that scientists are not entirely certain, the number of bees across the globe has been in drastic decline, particularly in the United Kingdom. In order to help them conserve the bumblebee, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust has enlisted the help of a Springer Spaniel. The Spaniel can sniff out colonies of bees that would take conservationists days to find, thus enabling them to expedite their essential conservation work.
These are just some of the more unusual detection dogs that we have come across at Dogscorner.co.uk. If you know of any more, we would love to hear about them in the comments!
PHOTO: The U.S. Army
Disclosure: This is a post written by Sylwia Komorowska on behalf of Dogscorner.co.uk. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily indicative of the opinions or positions of Dogscorner or i Love Dogs.